Remember the days when Wolves were chosen for a TV game was a thing to cherish?
Seeing the Molineux men in all their old gold glory on BBC or ITV was just as exciting as Christmas Eve. An exciting feat which was usually reserved for the elite few.
However, over the last few years Sky Sports have been able to broadcast Championship and subsequent lower league games as frequent as their affluent Premier League cousins.
The announcement of Wolves Midland derby clash with Birmingham City in March will mean that 13 games have been moved so far this season for Sky Sports.
Another incredible stat is that between Wolves 0-0 draw with MK Dons in late November and their planned tie with Ipswich on April 2nd, Wolves will only have had two 3pm Saturday kick off’s. Modern Football eh?
Despite Wolves indifferent season, it is odd to think why Wolves have been selected so many times for TV. At my last count, Wolves game against Birmingham City will be the club’s 10th televised game this season.
‘Sky Sports Wolves’ anyone?
One reason could clearly be that Wolves large fanbase across the UK and beyond has the appeal to draw in a big audience for the Sky cameras.
Are there any benefits for these games being on TV or are the constant fixture changes and re-scheduling (remember Leeds on a Thursday night?!) causing more problems in the long run?
Much has been said on social media since this recent addition to Wolves TV schedule, so I reached out to the online army to gather the opinions of the many on this heated subject.
Adam Thompson – Cry Wolf Blog
Former Fancastian and now author of the online Wolves blog ‘Cry Wolf’ Adam Thompson has been vocal on this subject and wrote this excellent piece before Christmas on the matter.
In his blog he writes:
“The reality is the aforementioned Football League clubs may have to get accustomed to having their fixture lists assaulted by the television companies. Home games at 3pm are becoming rarer all while empty seats continue to grow with Derby’s attendances the only anomaly in this trend.
So as the cost of going to a live game continues to rise so will the numbers choosing to watch the game on TV. With this comes a demand and more reason for TV companies to change kick-off times.
It’s something when Wolves and Leeds fans unite by chanting their protest at such a ridiculous day for a game and it is ultimately the said fans who are paying the price in more ways than one.”
How much are fans paying the price for these games to be moved around? Let’s find out more.
Michael Adams – Steve Bull Stand Season Ticket Holder
“Me and my dad travel 200 miles per game to watch Wolves at Molineux.
If all games were on 3pm a Saturday we’d make everyone but when they’ve both to early on a Saturday or even worse a Friday night my dad can’t make them at all and I have to take time off to get there on a Friday. You buy a season ticket in good faith but end up worse off financially by not being able to attend the rearranged games meaning you may as well buy them per game. How is this right for fans?”
This re-scheduling could create more financial problems for those living away from Wolverhampton. Especially the inconvenience of travelling to games not set at the traditional times. Another fan shares this same dilemma.
Jordan Fox – Season Ticket holder from Oxford.
“Being a season ticket holder from Oxford that doesn’t drive when the date of games change really frustrates me as I am now missing out on games that I have prepaid for. Although I will watch them on TV, I’m still missing out on everything that makes the game worthwhile for me.
Lower attendances will of course mean a loss of atmosphere. Could it be argued that by changing these fixtures and fans missing the opportunity to come to a game, football is losing the unique culture that these ninety minutes bring?
The pre-match drinks, the coach travel to tick off your ’92’ list and joining your fellow brothers and sisters in a sing-a-long. The Euphoria of winning and the bitterness of defeat. Or perhaps for some the chance to escape reality for a while.
Is there another side of the coin? Can these TV games be of benefit to a certain section of fans? Although we may as local or easily travelled fans feel hard done by, it is easy to see that for those avid Wolves fans who live far and wide, these televised games have been a blessing.
Adam Heath – Wolves fan in Scotland
“As the only Wolves fan (I assume) in Perthshire, Scotland, I am one of those few who get excited when Sky publishes its live games for the first half of the season. I actually put those dates in my diary. These are my Saturday afternoons.
It’s the only chance I really get to do what match – going fans do every fortnight! I’ve got sympathy for fans who have their Saturday routines, but is watching Wolves at lunchtime, or in the evening, so different? For some of us a live game is great news.”
Amar Bains – Wolves fan in London
“Living in London all my life I have never been able to get a season ticket as a 21 year old. However now I am working in London the financial strains make it difficult to come to Molineux.
If I could I would always be there live, but Sky allows me to watch Wolves more regularly. I’d rather have this then watch Burnley on Sky more than us.”
Let’s try further afield to the land of hope and opportunity.
Thomas Cochrane – Wolves fan in America
“I’m an American Wolves fan, so I always cherish the games that are televised. Attempting to follow the team internationally has been incredibly difficult since the relegation.
I’m sorry it makes it harder for home support to get out to Molineux, but it’s nice to be able to enjoy the game on a Saturday or Sunday morning while nursing a hangover instead of scrolling through twitter and waiting for the highlights to be posted.”
Some fans who live abroad do have the opportunity to travel over to the City of Dreams despite the convenience of TV games. However, these re-scheduling can cause a problem.
Oskar Bengtsson- Wolves fan in Sweden
“I am part of quite a large group of Swedish Wolves supporters and we always do our very best to travel to Wolverhampton to watch Wolves live.
For us to do this in the cheapest and easiest way possible, we must arrange our travelling several months ahead of the matches. If these matches are then moved, we have to either reschedule or cancel the plans entirely. Since Sky always seem to reschedule matches a month or two ahead of time, it causes a lot of inconvenience for us. It’s always nice to be able to stay at home and watch Wolves matches, but at the same time, nothing beats the experience of actually travelling over there”
As you can see there are indeed two sides to this story. For fans who yearn for a return to 3pm kickoffs, there are those who will rejoice in seeing their beloved Wolves frequently on their technicolour sets in the corner of the room.
TV games are now part of the furniture and as Sky’s grip on football start to slip away to the new kids in town, BT Sport, their usage of Championship games and leagues below may increase.
Perhaps the middle ground and solution to all this is explained here by Fancastian Richard Hobbs:
“I don’t think its a bad thing for the amount of games that are on Sky. We live in a time where games are played any day of the week. So long as games are space correctly apart to allow players to recover it shouldn’t be an issue.
If there is an issue with attendance, it would be nice to see Wolves offer discounts on Sky game’s to cover some fans and hopefully get bigger crowds to promote the club to a wider audience. But if we’re playing well people will going to the game, even if its on a Thursday evening.”
Are you unhappy about games being rescheduled for TV or is it a chance for you to watch Wolves like a season ticket holder? Share your thoughts below and join the debate.
(image via skysports.com)